For newspapers with concerns over Parliament-approved Royal Charter, there is hope


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The Independent Online

News that a sub-committee of the Privy Council has thrown out a Royal Charter produced by the newspaper industry is undoubtedly a disappointment to most publishers. But for those papers with concerns over the Parliament-approved Royal Charter, there is hope.

Although the charter approved by all three major political parties on 18 March goes forward, it will not be filed into Parliament until Friday and there are opportunities for amendments to be made. But the press will not be directly involved in those discussions.

Maria Miller said the local press had concerns over a proposed arbitration system to deal with complaints. These might be addressed by the politicians in the form of the introduction of a fee to prevent claims-farming.

Further press fears relate to political interference in the code of conduct known as the Editors' Code. Again, a possible concession is a panel of journalists will compile the code but the panel would be overseen by a lay body. Labour deputy Harriet Harman said there must be three-party support for any amended document. But she must know there's little point setting up a regulator that no news organisation signs up to.